The other day I was speaking with one of our recruiters. She is a former chef who would often cook for private house parties. She told me she had to be diligently aware and highly attentive to her manner and behavior when entering a client’s house, while cooking in someone else’s kitchen and serving in someone else’s home. For example, “should I take my shoes off at the front door?” This conversation made me realize this was a great analogy for our on-site consulting assignments.  So what are some good practical tips for positively and constructively stepping into our client’s environment at the start of a new engagement? Here are a few to get us started.

  • Study your on-boarding document
  • Have a plan, do your homework and research the place you are visiting
  • Show the respect of a visitor
  • Learn and play by the house rules (shoes off?)
  • Avoid the hero persona
  • Walk softly until knowing the environment
  • Listen more than talking (As my Father used to say, “We have two ears and one mouth so better to listen twice as much as we speak.”)

What tips do you have from your own experience?